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2018 Upper Valley High School Tennis Preview

  • Woodstock's assistant coach Kimbel Biele congratulates Olivia Marsicovetere after she and her partner Lydia Howe won their doubles bout during Montpelier at Woodstock girls tennis on Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Woodstock, Vt. Woodstock won, 4-3. (Valley News - Jovelle Tamayo) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The reconstruction had to start eventually.

Mike Haxton has had the luxury of a veteran lineup over his three years with the Lebanon High boys tennis program. That group of players rewarded him with three straight trips to the NHIAA Division II finals, two resulting in victories to put both coach and program at the summit of the sport.

Now comes the rebuild. The large majority of Raiders have graduated, and a new crop of athletes has taken up the task of keeping Lebanon relevant. On top of that, Lebanon’s girls have a huge roster and are showing signs of improving, having won their first match since the program’s return last spring.

Return is the word around Hartford High these days, as both the boys and girls have enough athletes to produce teams after a spring without tennis last year. Hanover and Woodstock are solid as always and will remain in the state championship argument in their respective leagues.

Girls

HANOVER

Coach: Liz Murray (4 years).

League: NHIAA Division I.

Last year: 15-2, lost to Derryfield in championship match.

Returnees: Seniors — Mindy Wu, Bri Laycock, Ellen Lamm, Grace Li, Emma Burwell, Helen Smith. Juniors — Emma Watson.

Newcomers: Juniors — Marta Sanchez. Sophomores — Marti Zentmaier. Freshmen — Carly Miles, Sierra Malo.

Analysis: “Looking forward to a strong second year in Division I,” Murray said. “We have four returners to the top six. There is a lot of positive energy and great dynamic in our doubles pairings. All three of the top doubles are new pairings and balance out nicely. There is some good depth within the team, and we are hoping to continue to develop our net game and power throughout the season.”

HARTFORD

Coach: Iris Berezin (33).

Last year: Did not have a team.

Leagues: VPA Division I, Marble Valley League.

Returnees: None.

Newcomers: Seniors — Elise Boyle, Ember Warner, Bethany Perkins, Lauren Miller, Olivia DeFelice, Maya Bolger-Chen, Madelyn Koff. Junior — Hannah Eastridge. Sophomores — Abigail Koff, Cecilia Spaulding, Sarah Contois. Freshmen — Jessica Davis, Nykrisha Jenks.

Analysis: Having been without a team for a year, the Hurricanes’ first challenge will be establish a foundation on which to grow in the future. Hartford will largely play a junior varsity schedule, although two varsity matches with St. Johnsbury are also in the mix.

LEBANON

Coach: Rob Johnstone (2).

Last year: 0-14, missed state tournament.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returnees: Seniors — Fatima Khan, Kaitlin Chamley, Leah Mayes, Makenzie Corbin. Juniors — Emerson Sleeper. Sophomores — Felicity Breedlove, Molly Neu, Artemisia Delgado, Zola Campbell, Caitlin McHugh, Audrey Perotti.

Newcomers: Seniors — Molly Pelletier, Erin White. Juniors — Alexia Zagarola. Freshmen — Jill Anderson, Nikki Boisvert, Emma Cranage, Maren Dyxenburg, Eloise Hampton, Grace Perotti, Morgan Radford, Kaeley Skakalski.

Analysis: “After not having a team two years ago, the interest and enthusiasm is just awesome, with 22 girls out for the team,” Johnstone said. “We've already won a match this year (9-0 over Stevens) and lost a couple of close ones to teams that blanked us last year (5-4 to both Monadnock and Wilton-Lyndborough). River Valley Club pro Andrew Gunberg is volunteering his time, and his expertise is a giant asset to the program. The players are having fun and genuinely interested in getting better. Fatima Khan, who is a solid No. 1, was the only player on the team who had any tennis experience prior to last season and is an excellent leader on the team.”

STEVENS

Coach: Karen Cullison (10).

Last year: 2-12.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returnees: Seniors — Mariah Lawrence, Fatima Wain. Sophomores — Clara Avery, Cally Barrette, Samantha Hagar, Fallon Lavertue, Teresa Varela, Meredith Stout.

Newcomers: Sophomores — Kaleigh Adams. Freshmen — Hannah Lembree, Annika Ratcliffe, Adria Smolinski, Autumn Bragg.

Analysis: “Exceptionally young but enthusiastic group, many of whom come by way of a sports-minded field hockey team,” Cullison said. “We are excited about the prospect of creating a strong, athletic team which will earn a promising record in the near future.”

WOODSTOCK

Coach: Tom Hopewell (20).

Last year: 18-1, beat Montpelier for state championship.

Leagues: VPA Division II, Marble Valley League.

Returnees: Seniors — Grace Frazier. Juniors — Momo Biele, Kenzie Biele, Katie McMaster, Chloe Noble. Sophomores — Olivia Marsicovetere, Lydia Howe.

Newcomers: Seniors — Brooke Heston, Rory Haff. Juniors — Natalie Strayton, Terney Dugan. Sophomores — Juliana Beraldie, Lily Holding, Jess Van de Ven, Maggie Rice.

Analysis: “We have a strong seven returning who have played throughout the year, some more than others,” Hopewell said. “So we have a good foundation, and now we have the process of putting all the hard practice work into winning matches.”

Boys

HANOVER

Coach: Jarrod Sheehan (4).

Last year: 10-5, lost in quarterfinals.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — Lincoln Adam, Jasper Meyer, Matty Siegel. Juniors — Aidan Biglow, Gary Li. Sophomores — Will Blinkhorn, Matt Bonner, Will Tarnowski.

Newcomers: Sophomores — Chris Lee, Andrew Enelow, Alec McDevitt, Tristan Meyer, Trevor Siegel.

Analysis: “We have a nice blend of experienced players returning along with newcomers ready to use their sharp skills in varsity-level competition,” Shaheen said. “If they play their strong mental game and stick to the basics, these players will compete nicely in the upper level of the division.”

HARTFORD

Coach: Iris Berezin (33).

Last year: Did not have a team.

Leagues: VPA Division I, Marble Valley League.

Returnees: Junior — Ethan Sneddon.

Newcomers: Seniors — Kyle Mason. Sophomores — Nicholas Jones, AJ DeFelice. Freshmen — Bikramjit Singh.

Analysis: At five, the Hurricanes have the bare minimum for team competition. Sneddon is the only returnee from Hartford’s last squad in 2016. The Canes are slated to play a limited junior varsity schedule.

LEBANON

Coach: Michael Haxton (4).

Last year: 17-0, beat Portsmouth to complete second straight undefeated season.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returnees: Seniors — Owen Johnstone, Brodie McPherson, Eric Spaulding. Sophomores — Roneet Arora, Eric Gessner, Nate Magari.

Newcomers: Seniors — Cameron Magari, Jake Willeman. Juniors — Pedro Izquierdo-Sacristan, Thorbjorn Dyxenburg. Sophomores — Sam Roberts, Keenan Leuthauser. Freshmen — Seamus Hickey, Jory Ballard, Tyler St. Martin.

Analysis: “After going 49-2 the last three years, we will be rebuilding a team that lost five of its six top singles players to graduation, with only Owen Johnstone returning,” Haxton said. “We’re a young team with three seniors along with a freshman, sophomore and a junior in our starting lineup. It may take us a while to get back to that state championship again.”

WOODSTOCK

Coach: Dave Miles (4).

Last year: 6-7, lost in first round of playoffs.

Leagues: VPA Division I, Marble Valley League.

Returnees: Seniors — Ethan Earle, Gardner Gottshegen, Justin Kopf. Juniors — Oliver Wilson. Sophomores Asa Gaddis, Carl Gebhardt, Sam Powers.

Newcomers: Sophomores — Gabe Bango, Henry Greene, Blake Heston, Charles McGowan. Freshmen — Noah Anderson, Danny Drebber.

Analysis: “We're young again, but three returning seniors is the most I've had in four years,” Miles said. “A lot of experience and potential in our newcomers, which is   another first.”

Correction

Seniors Elise Boyle, Olivia DeFelice and Madelyn Koff are members of the Hartford High girls tennis team. Boyle was accidentally omitted and DeFelice and Koff were misidentified in the team’s roster in an earlier version of this preview.